From Traditional to Present-day Kasàlà

Traditional Kasàlà


My name is Kasàlà Praise-Poetry

I am also known as Izibongo Oriki Amazina

And numerous other names

According countries and languages

I was born very long ago

In those times I was only spoken

I am from Central and Southern Africa

I am from Eastern and Western Africa

I was already known and written in Ancient Egypt

And even in Mesopotamia and later in Greco-Roman times

Under the forms of Inscription or Aretalogy

You will find me in the Mahabharata and in other holy scriptures too

However in those times

I was only enjoyed by gods and kings and queens

It's a pleasure to reveal a few peculiarities of mine

That make me so attractive and so powerful

I step in to support major life transitions

Birth wedding welcoming farewells

Especially the ultimate farewell the return to the invisible

Indeed nobody accesses the ancestor status

Unless they're escorted by me

For this reason I am ritual poetry

I am oral and public poetry

I am a poetry to be recited and heard

I am the ideal medium to celebrate the other oneself or God

In other words to celebrate life in all its manifestations

Through flowery epithets strong names and clan mottos

Through daring metaphors and unexpected hyperboles

Through savory praises and initiation symbols


I am a special and incantatory language

Being rhythm movement source and life source

I convene the body I convene the whole being

I thus speak to spirits to ancestors to animals to plants to stones

Therefore I am rather parataxic and concise and silent

I am connexion poetry

I connect humans with other humans

I connect the human being with him- or herself

I connect human beings with The-more-than-Human

I convene the ancestors and The-Ultimate-Ancestor

I sail between the visible and the invisible


I am The-Highlighter-of-high-deeds The-Highliter-of-challenges-met

In order to invite human beings

To remind their nobility

I acknowledge and praise individuals beyond their groups

I acknowledge their particular merits

And congratulate them most warmly

For all these reasons

I am The-Right-Word The-Ultimate-Word

I stir up strong emotions because I touch the life core

Present-day Kasàlà

My name is Present-day Kasàlà

Some people call me Kasàlà Junior

I am The-Traveler who gathered wealth 

From Africa and Europe and Asia

And finally settled in America

Where the Aztecs Inuit Mi’kmaqs Atikameqs and other Native Americans

Used to enjoy their forests and meadows and rivers in pre-Columbian times

Where enslaved Africans brought their muscles brains drums gods and praises

My mother-father is Kabuta Ngo Semzara Ngèlènjì Bênyì Ntalaja Matanda

He who is called Jandhi in North-America

The Multilingual-Nightingale that discovered my deep roots throughout Africa

The renown Kasàlà writer who wrote innumerable fine kasàlàs

He who created a Kasàlà school and developed a methodology to teach me worldwide

He who he allowed young and old to access this multifaceted poetry 

I can be enjoyed worldwide by small and big, old and young

As well as by short and tall, white and black

The more so as I can be written in all types of letters

While I travel through the World Wide Web

Nowadays I am also created just for the pleasure of being read

See what a colorful Baobab-tree I have become !

Indeed I am the offspring     of ancient kasàlàs and izibongos

I grew out of long and rich traditions     common to African cultures

Nowadays I can be recited or sung    danced or simply read in silence

Since my universe was widened     from orality to writing

Some poets have developed    the marvelous instant writing

The ability to create a kasàlà for someone    while they are talking    

I am The-Powerful Tool    that enhances self-esteem

And improves your inner dialogue    that determines your actions

When practicing me you gain     empowerment and inner freedom

While enlarging yourself    while continuing your own creation

Completing Unkulunkulu's work   who made the initial sketch

For I am Creative-Energy    that changes from poetry to action

I am the Efficient-Medicine    for the broken psyche

Threatened by meaninglessness    and I bring back the joie de vivre

I remind women and men     from north and south

That each of them has got a chair    in this world

While coaching them    on how to reconquer their lost rights


I have two cousins     They are called Slam and Rap

Like me they need to be performed     in front of an audience

Though celebrating is my specificity    as is the ability

To express gratitude     and joy and love and empathy

In short Ubuntu    or the art of being human


Therefore    I am Initiation-Path that leads to beauty

Meditation and Silence    are allies that reconnect man

To himself and to the seas     the forests and the planets

To his source     and to the Reality beyond himself

I am Springboard    and Perfect-expression-of-wonderment

I am The-Teacher     that teaches humility

I am The-Laugher    that trains old and young

To laugh of the passing phenomena    but first of all

To laugh of themselves   and of their finitude 

In order to produce me    and to move the listener 

The gifted poet suggests    what can’t be said

With figures of speech    such as metaphors and hyperboles 

However I totally renewed   the art of celebrating 

By experiencing praise    as a mere figure of style

I am The-Reshaper     that reshapes itself

And engenders new styles    such as the Enemy Kasàlà 

The Kasàlà of Other in I-form   the extended use of the Signature 

The Poetic Jam Session    the Autobiography Kasàlà

The Evaluation    and the Reporting Kasàlà

All this is made possible    thanks to the cooperation

Of inspired practitioners    in warm and cold countries

The Hungry-Ones     that eat and digest me

I am the Self-Esteem-Enhancer   that reminds you of your nobility

I am The-Grateful-One    that is crafted

By artists from Africa    from Europe and America

With their specificities    expressed in their own languages

With their histories    written with their tears or blood or songs


My polymorph language    is embellished and enriched

With proverbs and praise names    from my ancestors

With prayers and wishes and blessings   from the bottom of human heart 

And also with awakening quotes    from universal written sources

I am The-End-Product     of endless contacts and disciplines 

My roots are in Africa    while my foliage blossoms anywhere

Summary :
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